An unexamined life is not worth living.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book review: Kasparov: How His Predecessors Misled Him About Chess

I've got myself a copy of Kasparov: How His Predecessors Misled Him About Chess. Since I have a copy of all the seven recent Kasparov's volumes, I could not resist getting something that builds up on Kasparov's work. This book is a collection of games by world champions with references to similar themes in Kasparov's own games. It is written in a pretty entertaining style, the tone being appropriately a parody on Kasparov's tone in his "Predecessors" volumes.

The correlation between Kasparov and his predecessors' games in some examples seemed pretty obvious, but others were a bit more of the type "Alekhine played the Slav, and look, here Kasparov plays the Slav too", or "Capablanca executed a bishop sacrifice on h7, and here is a similar one played by Junior against Garry". The ones I was more interested were the endgames that Karpov drew or won, and then ones with similar material where Garry either lost or failed to win. The idea that Kasparov might have known about Karpov's games and drew wrong conclusions from them actually seems not that far fetched. It also allows to compare the skills of two players, since opening knowledge (which improves among all players as time goes) here is not relevant.

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